Data Dictionary: Census 1990
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Survey: Census 1990
Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Table: P42. Place Of Birth [13]
Universe: Persons
Table Details
P42. Place Of Birth
Universe: Persons
Variable Label
Relevant Documentation:
Excerpt from: Social Explorer, U.S. Census Bureau; Census of Population and Housing, 1990: Summary Tape File 3 on CD-ROM [machine-readable data files] / prepared by the Bureau of the Census. Washington: The Bureau [producer and distributor], 1991.
Place of Birth
The data on place of birth were derived from answers to questionnaire item 8, which was asked on a sample basis. The place-of-birth question asked respondents to report the U.S. State, commonwealth or territory, or the foreign country where they were born. Persons born outside the United States were asked to report their place of birth according to current international boundaries. Since numerous changes in boundaries of foreign countries have occurred in the last century, some persons may have reported their place of birth in terms of boundaries that existed at the time of their birth or emigration, or in accordance with their own national preference.

Persons not reporting place of birth were assigned the birthplace of another family member or were allocated the response of another person with similar characteristics. Persons allocated as foreign born were not assigned a specific country of birth but were classified as "Born abroad, country not specified."

Information on place of birth and citizenship were used to classify the population into two major categories: native and foreign born. When information on place of birth was not reported, nativity was assigned on the basis of answers to citizenship, if reported, and other characteristics.

Includes persons born in the United States, Puerto Rico, or an outlying area of the United States. The small number of persons who were born in a foreign country but have at least one American parent also are included in this category.

The native population is classified in the following groups: persons born in the State in which they resided at the time of the census; persons born in a different State, by region; persons born in Puerto Rico or an outlying area of the U.S.; and persons born abroad with at least one American parent.

Foreign Born
Includes persons not classified as "Native." Prior to the 1970 census, persons not reporting place of birth were generally classified as native.
The foreign-born population is shown by selected area, country, or region of birth: the places of birth shown in data products were selected based on the number of respondents who reported that area or country of birth.

Data on the State of birth of the native population have been collected in each census beginning with that of 1850. Similar data were shown in tabulations for the 1980 census and other recent censuses.

Nonresponse was allocated in a similar manner in 1980; however, prior to 1980, nonresponse to the place of birth question was not allocated. Prior to the 1970 census, persons not reporting place of birth were generally classified as native.

The questionnaire instruction to report mother's State of residence instead of the person's actual State of birth (if born in a hospital in a different State) was dropped in 1990. Evaluation studies of 1970 and 1980 census data demonstrated that this instruction was generally either ignored or misunderstood. Since the hospital and the mother's residence, is in the same State for most births, this change may have a slight effect on State of birth data for States with large metropolitan areas that straddle State lines.